As the Church of England moves to make women bishops it is worth reflecting on the tyrannical pursuit of progress typified by the progressives. This pursuit of progress for its own sake is insidious, dangerous and relentless. It is also intrinsically Protestant.
The progressive always needs a noble cause. Their identity is defined by the struggle. Equality is never achieved. As soon as one victory is celebrated the war councils meet to plan the next campaign. Have women finally been ordained as priest? Now we will campaign for women bishops. Drink your champagne quickly, for next on the agenda is equality for LBGTQW people. Have homosexuals been granted same sex civil unions? Put away your party hats. We must campaign for real marriage. Have we achieved civil marriage for same sex couples? We will not be satisfied until we have marriage IN CHURCH! Those who appease the progressive tyrants must not imagine that there will ever be peace.
There cannot be peace because the progressive Protestant’s entire world view is determined by their unfailing belief first in progress. Progress and the struggle for “equality” and “justice” is woven into their genetic structure. It’s the way they’re wired. It’s the spectacles they wear to look at the world. Blinded by a Hegelian dialectic, they truly believe that life only has meaning when they are engaged in the tug of thesis, antithesis and synthesis. The problem is they never achieve a synthesis. They only achieve more division and once they have wrecked the status quo to achieve a victory they prowl around restlessly looking for the next conflict–the next person to bully–the next great cause to espouse so their lives might have meaning.
This need for progress is linked with their need for protest. Insecure, immature people with a persecution complex, they always need an enemy, and the enemy must always be some establishment monster against which, like a teenager with a hissy fit, they can rebel. This rebellion is also at the heart of their worldview. The establishment is, by their unwavering definition, always evil and corrupt while their noble cause is always righteous and pure. Totally lacking in self criticism, the progressive protestant (and I use the word not only to include religious protestants–but all protestors) marches on their adolescent way blind to the iconoclasm and rampant destruction their noble cause produces.
I once had a conversation with a high ranking Anglican about women’s ordination. With the usual sincere, passive aggressive tone he said, “You seem to still be angry about the events in the Church of England twenty years ago. I’m concerned about that and care for you.” Annoyed by this condescending bovine manure I said, “You bet I’m still angry. You lily livered do gooders went about trying to be nice to a monstrous regiment of women who were bullying you for years to get their way, and then you trumpeted around the world with happy celebrations how good you all were and how wonderful it all was that you had at last brought about equality for women. In the meantime, you were totally blind to the havoc you caused in thousands of other lives. You had no real concern for the hundreds of good priests who, obeying their conscience, left their homes, their vocations, their livelihoods, their ministries and their congregations. You had no concern for the thousands of good Anglican laypeople who belonged to their village church for generations, but were expelled by your decision. You had no concern for the thousands who remain–supporting your church with their prayers and gifts while abhorring the vulgar innovations you have imposed on them. You had no concern for the relations with the Catholics and Orthodox brothers and sisters, no regard for decades of ecumenical work striving for unity, not to mention concern for preserving the apostolic faith of which you were the guardians and defenders. Some progress. Some protest.”
This is why conservatives eventually draw the line–because the “progress” is never ending. There is always another righteous cause–always some new plan to make the world a “better place” and the plan is always unwaveringly suspicious not only of the establishment, but anything which is venerable. Thus progressivism is always linked with the naive idea that old is bad and new is good. If old is bad, then old must be destroyed. If progressivism is right, then new must be good simply by being new. This has been the serpent’s line from the beginning–eating the fruit is new, so it must be good.
The sad truth is that if the Anglicans–and the Lutherans and Methodists and everyone else on the relentless progress train– think they will now have peace they must think again. The progressives are even now planning the next campaign. This is what they do. This is their raison d’etre. This they must do or drift into a life devoid of purpose. Now the Church of England and the other churches will be plunged further into the debate over same sex marriage. The progressives will once more load the deck, bully the electorate, wheel and deal in smoke filled rooms, manipulate the media, back stab their enemies, obfuscate the arguments, muddy the waters all the while plastering on their simpering grins and mouthing sentimental platitudes expressing their “pain”, their “deep concern” and their “sadness” at the injustice in the world.
And when all the establishment people are made to feel ashamed and guilty by the progressive bullies and give in, once a man can walk down the aisle to marry another man in an Anglican Church be assured that there will be another great cause for the General Synod to consider. I expect it will be polyamory or child sex or the acceptance of a new ecumenical partnership with Islam or Wicca. Whatever it may be, if you are Anglican Christian do not expect there to be peace. While pretending piously to want peace and justice they wage a never ending war that dumps vast injustice on thousands.
The progressive protestant does not want peace. He delights in revolution and revolt.
That’s why they’re called Protestants. They protest.